Shoah Day: 70 Years since Warsaw Ghetto Rebellion

Central theme for Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day 2013: Defiance and Rebellion.

Gil Ronen ,

Yad VaShem
Yad VaShem
Flash 90

The central theme for Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day, 2013, is Defiance and Rebellion in the Holocaust. This year, the ceremony will mark 70 years since the Warsaw ghetto uprising.

The day will be marked in a ceremony Sunday evening, and as the embedded video shows, rehearsals are ongoing.

"The most notable armed uprising that took place in the ghettos broke out in Warsaw on the first night of Pesach 5703 (19 April 1943)," writes Shoah memorial museum Yad Vashem in its website.


"The revolt took place in reaction to the entry by German troops into the ghetto and on the heels of armed resistance that had been offered the previous January by the ghetto underground. In April, it was apparent that the Germans’ goal was the liquidation of the largest ghetto in occupied Europe as a birthday present for Adolf Hitler.

"Young Jews, condemned to death by the occupying Germans, organized into two underground networks (the Jewish Combat Organization and the Jewish Military Union) with little means and no outside support. Along with members of the undergrounds, all of the surviving Jews in the ghetto resisted the enemy in order to defy their murderers, although they knew they had little chance of survival.

"These 50,000 Jews, left in the ghetto following mass death by disease and starvation and the deportation of 265,000 men, women and children to Treblinka, took to defense in the bunkers, and fought with utmost courage and resolve. They put up the bravest of resistance for almost a month, until they were brutally suppressed. 

"The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was the first large-scale urban civilian rebellion against the Nazis, predating similar non-Jewish underground activity and uprisings in Europe, and strengthening and uniting Jewish youth in other places."